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Morgan Folger,
Environment America

1100 Health professionals urge President-elect Trump to act on climate

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, 1100 doctors, nurses, medical students, and other health professionals joined Environment America to issue a letter to President-elect Trump calling on him to take climate action to protect public health.

The letter states, “With health impacts ranging from heat-related illness and deaths to asthma and respiratory illnesses, and more vector borne diseases, climate change is threatening the health of Americans across the country. You have the power to dramatically cut the greenhouse gas pollution fueling this crisis. We ask you to work to shift towards a 100% renewable energy and efficient future, while phasing out the use of fossil fuels.”

An estimated 6.8 million children in the United States are affected by asthma and susceptible to allergens due to their underdeveloped respiratory and immune systems. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, climate change will likely increase air pollution and airborne allergens.

In the United States, the spread of diseases such as Zika Virus is expected to increase due to climate change. 

“From respiratory illness to heat-related death and new emerging diseases, climate change threatens the health of Americans across the country,” said Morgan Folger, Climate and Health Fellow with Environment America. “The vast majority of Americans want stronger, not weaker, protections for our environment and health and we need a President that will stand up for our wellbeing.”

President-elect Donald Trump promised to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, scrap the Clean Power Plan, and cancel grants to help nations hardest hit by dangerous global warming. Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, were nominated this week to head the Department of State and Environmental Protection Agency, signaling a grave prognosis for U.S. climate leadership.

“Climate change is perhaps the most serious public health threat today. It cannot wait four years. We must act now,” said Dr. Anthony Schlaff, Director of Public Health Programs at Tufts University.

The letter released today outlines the health damages in the US Global Change Research Program’s 2016 Climate and Health Assessment. It urges the president-elect to support the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution, phase out drilling and mining on public lands, increase electric vehicles and set higher fuel economy standards for cars.

“If you think West Nile Virus and Zika Virus were bad, you haven’t seen anything yet,” said Dr. Tony Iton, Senior Vice President of The California Endowment. “We need to act and we need to act fast. The health of our population depends on it, particularly those in low-income communities.” 

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Environment America is a federation of 29 state-based, citizen advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentAmerica.org